Has Yelp Figured Out How to Make Money?

Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) reported second-quarter 2018 results after markets closed Wednesday. The local business guide company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.12 on revenues of $234.86 million. In the second quarter of 2017, Yelp reported EPS of $0.09 per share on revenues of $209.95 million. The consensus estimates for the quarter called for adjusted EPS of $0.01 and $232.28 million in revenue.

Adjusted EBITDA rose by $4 million to $47 million, above the company’s own projection. Paying advertising accounts rose by nearly a third to 194,000 year over year.

The company’s home and local services business drove about a third of ad revenue in the quarter which Yelp attributes to favorable secular trends in consumer behavior and service provider marketing preferences along with the adoption of the company’s Request-a-Quote feature.

The Request-a-Quote lead volume rose by 27% sequentially and revenue attributable to the feature increased by more than 50%.

The company raised its full-year revenue outlook to a range of $952 to $967 million and increased the adjusted EBITDA estimate to a range of $186 to $192 million. For the full year, analysts are looking for revenue of $960.3 million and EPS of $0.24. For third quarter consensus estimates call for EPS of $0.10 and revenue of $247.25 million.

The company has $803 million in cash, equivalents, and investments and repurchased about 771,000 shares in the quarter for about $32 million. Yelp has about $122 million remaining in its authorized buyback program.

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said:

Second quarter results were once again driven by strong revenue growth in our core Advertising business. We completed the transition to selling non-term local advertising in the quarter, which helped deliver record advertising account additions. Our growth initiatives elsewhere also produced encouraging results.

In the four previous quarters, the company has lost money three times and posted a 5 cent per share profit once. Is this the turning of a new page for the company?

Shares closed at $38.16 Wednesday and jumped more than 12% to $42.80 after hours in a 52-week range of $36.41 to $48.40.

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